A Kurdish female fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG) gestures as she carries her weapon near al-Hawl, Syria in this November 10, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Rodi Said/Files
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Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria are expected to declare a federal system Thursday, a move likely to further complicate peace talks in Geneva on ending more than five years of war.Despite a more than two-week-old "cessation of hostilities" and President Vladimir Putin's decision to pull out of Syria some of the Russian forces that have tipped the balance of the war in President Bashar Assad's favor, any hopes of a breakthrough at the peace talks in Geneva remain slim.Russia's defense ministry Wednesday reported 10 new ceasefire violations and the Kurds appeared to be taking matters into their own hands after being excluded from the talks in Geneva, by drawing up plans to combine three Kurdish-led areas of northern Syrian into a federal arrangement. The new arrangement, which a conference in the Kurdish-controlled town of Rmeilan agreed would be announced on Thursday, would alarm neighboring Turkey, which fears growing Kurdish sway in Syria is fueling separatism among its own Kurdish minority.Opening the indirect talks on Monday, de Mistura said Syria faced a "moment of truth," and he has described Putin's decision to withdraw some Russian forces as a "significant development".The United States has also been carrying out air strikes in Syria.Rojava is the Kurdish name for northern Syria.
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